They say that behind every successful man, there is a great woman – and equally, behind every successful soap opera, there are a cast of great women.
Some of the most famous and indeed infamous storylines in EastEnders have involved some of the soap’s strongest and feistiest women. It goes without saying that the women of Walford were always at their best.
The 90s in particular had an enviable cast of female characters, as broad raging as they were legendary, the 90s women of Albert Square won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Have you ever wondered what the actresses behind those characters have been doing recently? Well, let’s take a look…
Martine McCutcheon (Tiffany Mitchell)
Martine McCutcheon is a true renascence woman of British show business. Starting off in EastEnders, she then went on to appear in Love Actually as The Prime Minister’s love interest (who, oddly enough still lived in a semi detached house with her whole family despite working as the personal assistant to THE PRIME MINISTER, surely she could afford a place of her own?) and then going onto have a reasonably successful singing career. Not only that, but she has also released books, presented for the radio and has done some general TV work. She has done it all, it seems.
But to soap fans, she will always be remembered as Tiffany Mitchell, one half of a very combustible relationship with Grant Mitchell, the landlord of the Queen Vic at the time.
She had many memorable storylines on the soap, and in 1998 she finally decided to leave the soap to pursue a career as a singer. She was part of a memorable special New Year’s Eve episode of the show that pulled in a mind-boggling 22 million viewers. However, she took exception with the show’s producer’s decision to kill her character off, citing that she had hoped to one day return.
After EastEnders, she embarked on a singing career. And though it was fairly short-lived (she was only active as a musician for four years between 1998 and 2002) she managed a number 1 hit called ‘Perfect Moment’.
She also appeared in Love Actually as Natalie, the love interest of Hugh Grant’s David, the recently elected Prime Minister – the first bachelor Prime Minister since Edward Heath in 1974.
She has also released two books: an autobiography in 2000 entitled ‘Who Does She Think She Is?’ and book chronically her time on EastEnders called ‘Martine McCutcheon: Behind the Scenes – A Personal Diary’. She has also had much success on the stage and more recently she has been seen as a regular guest panellist for ITV’s Loose Women.
Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler)
Joining the cast in 1993, Natalie Cassidy played Sonia Fowler on the BBC soap from December of that year until 2007. During her time on the show, Natalie Cassidy played a character that was always one of the foundations on which many of the show’s most memorable storylines were presented.
She left in 2007 and while she was gone she appeared in a number of shows such as Psychoville and was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, and in 2010 Cassidy joined ex-EastEnders actor James Alexandrou and Nina Wadia to create comedy shorts for BBC Raw Words, an adult literacy website. The series of video clips about story writing also included appearances from Lenny Henry and Rowland Rivron.
Later on in 2010, it was announced that she would be reprising her role as Sonia, and she went on to become a regular once again on the show until 2011.
Since leaving EastEnders for the second time, she has appeared on shows such as Celebrity Big Brother, when she was evicted in week five. And more recently, she has been seen making the occasional appearance on Loose Women.